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Shaun Ellis was al over the field on Jan. 16 in Foxboro. The veteran had 5 solo tackles and two sacks in the Jets’ 28-21 divisional win over the Patriots, and a defensive end who personified the Jets basked in the win.
On Sunday, Ellis will be wearing a Patriots uniform. Not only won’t he be contributing to the Jets efforts to stop Tom Brady’s prolific offense, but he’ll be looking to take down Mark Sanchez.
“I think that’s why they took him,” Jets linebacker Bart Scott said of Ellis’ divisional performance. “He’s a great player, he’s still guy that I think will always be associated with being a New York Jet. He made the best decision for himself I miss him here but I understand he had to do when was best for him and his family.”
Ellis was offered the league minimum of $910,000 by the Jets at a time when they were pursuing far more expensive free agents, and Ellis balked at that after playing for the team since he was drafted 12 seasons ago.
Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted that Ellis has come up during the week as the 2-2 Jets prepare to face their top rival.
“It is going to feel really strange I think,” Ryan said. “We were talking about it today, the offensive linemen and (defensive) linemen. Like, man, ‘All that stuff, remember all that stuff he used to talk about you guys?’ We were laughing about it. But he certainly is going to be motivated. We understand that.”
Jets center Nick Mangold, who will likely play after missing two games with a high ankle sprain, is used to seeing Ellis across the line of scrimmage.
“It’ll be different to see him after practicing with him for 5 years,” Mangold said, yet it will be very different. “... (I’ve) Never seen him live, you can only do so much in practice.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is suspected of bringing in certain players to get information, or to gain a specific competitive advantage over an opponent. Last season, Belichick signed the versatile Danny Woodhead before playing the Jets.
“I did say this,” Ryan said. “Maybe it’s not appropriate, but I thought we should start punting footballs their direction, because remember when (Ellis) got hit in the head in Miami by a ball? That was one way to slow him down. So maybe we can do that.”